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This information only applies to ACT renters. If you are renting outside the ACT, go to Links for services that can help you.
The details below are for renting advice/information, if you are in need of support services see our support services page. Our Links page has details for services such as Office of Rental Bonds, ACAT and other services.
The links are for information. If you need specific detailed advice see our advice services details
Tenancy and Occupancy Issues
Information specific to people renting in the ACT does change as government responses and rules change. It is important to note that as of 27 August there are few specific provisions in ACT tenancy law regarding the lockdown, many of the provisions from last year have expired. The best way to keep up to date with rules is to go to the ACT Government Justice and Community Safety website. For details of restrictions and other updates regularly check the ACT Government COVID-19 website.
On 2 September the ACT Government annouced a range of tempoarary changes to protect households that have been identified as being impacted physically or financially by COVID-19 including:
- a 12 week moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent where tenants are a COVID-19 impacted household;
- protection for households subject to a public health direction to quarantine or self-isolate from being required to leave their home during the quarantine period;
- a relaxation on the time period for non-urgent repairs;
- a rental increase freeze for COVID-19 impacted households;
- restrictions on physically accessing rental premises and alterations to the way inspections should be performed (these are still in place despite changes for owner occupiers selling, see below) ;
- restrictions on COVID-19 impacted tenants and impacted households being added to tenancy databases;
- the ability for impacted households to end a fixed term tenancy early and without penalty by providing 3 weeks’ notice and evidence that they are so impacted;
- allowing tenants from impacted households who have had a termination and possession order made against them or a warrant for eviction issued, but who are still in their rental premises, to apply for the orders to be suspended during the moratorium period;
- allowing tenants from impacted households who had a termination and possession order suspended or warrant stayed during the moratorium period to apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) to reconsider those orders at the end of the moratorium period in certain circumstances;
- a 12 week transitional period following the moratorium period which prevents evictions on the basis of debt accrued during the moratorium where rent is being paid when it falls due during the transition period;
- the ability for landlords, tenants, grantors and occupants to negotiate reduced rent or occupancy fees or a deferral of rent payments;
- a requirement for ACAT to consider making a payment order (a type of repayment plan) instead of an eviction order where a termination order is sought against an impacted household where they are not still protected by the eviction moratorium.
On 15 September some changes were announced for inspections for selling a property, these DO NOT apply to tenanted properties – The limits on in person inspections under the Residential Tenancies (COVID-19 Emergency Response) Declaration 2021 are still in force. This means that in tenanted properties, inspections will still be predominantly virtual unless the tenant consents (or there is an ACAT order) for a physical inspection. The tenant is, however, under an obligation to facilitate virtual inspections of the property. The changes to public health orders to allow physical inspection of a property would only apply to vacant (un-tenanted) properties.
You can also check out the information provided to Landlords and Agents
My issue/problem is not covered in the government information
This information about is about Covid-19 and lockdown related law changes. Many of them only apply to tenants who can show they have been affected by COVID-19. If there are no changes regarding an issue you have, you will still be covered by ACT tenancy law as prior to the pandemic.
Go to the information links below for general detials about:
- access and privacy regarding notice of inspections,
- notices about rent increases
- issues with repairs
- the need for rent reductions
- eviction notices
If you live in a different type of accommodation, e.g., a homestay living with the owner of the house, university accommodation, caravan park, emergency accommodation, hotel/motel or boarding house, you may be an occupant, not a tenant. Go to Occupancy Factsheets to find out whether you are an occupant and for information on occupants’ rights.
If you live in a share house, download our Share Housing Booklet for information on share house issues.
Please note that you should be aware of your type of tenancy in a share house, e.g. are you a head-tenant, a sub-tenant or something else?
Public housing, Housing ACT
Housing ACT has details on their website about contacting directly with questions or problems – https://www.communityservices.act.gov.au/hcs
At the bottom of the page they aslo have responses to frequently asked questions for tenants during lockdown:
- Is Housing still open?
- Is OneLink still open?
- Can I still call my Housing Manager?
- My income has changed and I need to lodge a new rebate form. What do I do?
- Are you still maintaining properties?
- Are Client Service Vistits still happening?
- Do I still have to pay rent?
- For tenants in mulit-unit properties
- What other supports are avialable?
- I’m experiencing, or at risk of experiencing homelessnes. What can I do?
The ACT Government has information on a range assistance available for different needs on the COVID-19 website
It is an extensive list and a useful link to keep. Information includes:
Emergency food relief
Information on accessing emergency food relief is available: https://www.covid19.act.gov.au/community/access-help…
A list of where to access various income support programs, both ACT and Federal
- for essential and non-essentialworkers
- assistance while waiting for a test result
- business support
Homelessness services will continue throughout the lockdown period. Anyone who is homeless or at immediate risk of homelessness should call OneLink on 1800 176 468 or access further information here: www.onelink.org.au
Where to get advice on renting issues
If you live in public/social housing with Housing ACT, our tenancy information applies to you. However, if you want advice on applications, transfers, rental rebates, review of decisions or obtaining Priority status, call Canberra Community Law on (02) 6218 7977 or go to their website for information
Advice for Renters
If you require legal advice, renters can call Legal Aid’s Tenancy Advice Service on 1300 402 512.
We encourage you to check our information here first to clarify your issue and the sorts of things you should be asking about
Advice for Landlords/Head Tenants
Landlords and head-tenants can make a free appointment with the Legal Advice Bureau by calling 6247 5700, or call Legal Aid on 1300 654 314.
Once registered, anyone can access our information and resources.
Tenants’ Union ACT publishes this website as a service to the Canberra public. Please note that the information on this site is only relevant to renters in the ACT.
This website provides information about the law designed to help users understand legal rights and obligations. However legal information is not the same as legal advice (the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances). Although we make all efforts to ensure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult the Tenants Advice Service for advice specific to your circumstances. You are also able to consult an independent solicitor for a second opinion.
Please note that this website is NOT intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal advice or opinions and the transmission of this information is NOT intended to create a solicitor-client relationship between the Tenants’ Union ACT and members of the public.
Tenants’ Union ACT makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currency, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Please also note when the page was last updated, as the law may have changed.